Modern trucks have incorporated a series of technological advances in order to reduce accident rates, and, incidentally, increase operational performance. Aspects such as geographical and climatic conditions, together with the state of the road infrastructure, are some of the factors that affect the conditions of operation of the trucks on a daily basis.
Some of the advances that many truck brands actively apply to their new models of cargo trucks, are thought for those who work on harsh conditions (changing weather, difficult roads or in poor condition), where the driver needs all the support that the machine can provide. Remote monitoring and the use of technologies that ensure greater ease of maneuver are the focus of the technical advances that have been incorporated into trucks on the last years.
Another breakthrough is the monitoring of vehicle performance, through Fleet Management Services (FMS), which allows monitoring all aspects of the operation of the truck to identify opportunities for improvement and make it more efficient, in real time, since it is online.
Also, there is a virtual instructor (Driver Support), who guides the transporter in adverse situations in order to successfully drive in extreme conditions, improving the performance and maintenance process that directly affects the availability of the units. Added to this are the assisted driving systems, which ensure greater maneuverability with less driving complexity.
Among them is the Opticruise, an automated gearbox system, which allows to gear the changes to be made manually or automatically, according to the preference of the driver, then we have the Hill Hold, a hill start assistant that prevents the vehicle from rolling back inadvertently, and lastly, we’ve got the Brake Retarder, this is just a hydraulic brake electro-pneumatically controlled, that allows descending slopes with controlled speed, without using the brakes, with the benefit of reducing the brake wear.
Currently, all models of trucks assembled by brands like Volvo and Scania, have as standard these improvements in terms of safety. Some trucks are equipped with active safety systems, which minimize the risks of accidents, improving the braking quality (ABS) and controlling the stability (RSC) of the unit. They are also equipped with devices that control the accidental change of lane and alert if there is another vehicle in any of the blind spots
These systems have been extended with additional elements such the alcolock which does not allow the vehicle to start if it detects any level of alcohol in the driver; trailer connection systems on both sides of the cabin, to prevent the driver from committing reckless actions; red safety belts with alarms that force the driver to use it; fatigue alert systems; of active braking and distance control; airbags, among others.
For these highly reliable trucks, the idea is to use semi-trailers that also come equipped with these active safety systems, such as ABS brakes, electronic stability control and tire pressure. If the transport unit is equipped with these devices, the goal is to reduce the risk of accidents considerably in the near future.
Other goals on short terms are to maximize the productivity of the transportation fleets. This presents complex challenges, where not only fuel efficiency is sought, but it is also essential to achieve high average speeds, which optimize times without sacrificing efficiency and safety.